Post date: May 21, 2021 6:5:18 PM
Dear Middletown Reformed Church Family and Friends,
Blessings of peace be with you!
I’m not sure about you, but I’m beginning to feel a growing sense of relief that this pandemic may finally be over soon. After such a long and difficult year of loss, grief, social isolation, and anxiety, I see a light at the end of the tunnel, and as Bill Potter said to me, “It’s not a big truck coming at us.” No, it’s not — it’s the light of Hope.
As our society returns to some semblance of “the before times,” that means our church will once again hum with activities and ministries. It is with a heart of joy that I wish to share some inspirational information with you about what we’re hoping to do this summer. (Note: after the lesson of 2020 I never say “plan” anymore when it comes to events; instead, I go with the phrase, “hope to do”). As I told the Consistory, my dream and vision is that after being apart for so long we will create opportunities for us to be together, reconnect, and have good, meaningful, and supportive conversations. And, of course, continue our call from Christ to community outreach and love for all.
So, here’s the Hope for the summer:
Tomorrow (May 22) is our second and final Youth Group and Ruth Circle Parking Lot Sale on Kings Highway from 10 AM - 2:30 PM (see flyer attached). All proceeds will go to our Zilinski Scholarship Fund and for community outreach. Come and find some treasures and support our Youth Group and Ruth Circle!
The Coventry House porch parties resume on June 11 (2nd Friday of the month), 7 - 9 PM (weather permitting)! Please bring a lawn chair, your favorite beverage, and a nibble and gather on the lawn of Coventry House for good times and conversation with your church family.
On June 13 we will have a Lt. Dennis Zilinski, II Youth Group Memorial Scholarship brunch — All things strawberry in the Education Building after worship. A free will offering will be taken to support the scholarship fund. This event will kick off our return to coffee hour and First Sunday brunches after worship in the Education Building. We are having coffee hour in the Education Building instead of the basement as there is better ventilation there than the basement, and we will have more room to socially distance. Coffee, iced tea, and cookies will be served.
Calling all volunteers for June 26! In partnership with the Middletown Lions Club, we have collected all the items for the Blessing Bag Brigade and now is the time to assemble the bags at The Church of St. Catherine Laboure, 110 Bray Avenue, Middletown from 10 – 11:30 AM. Please contact Beverly Bova Scarano at firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help. You must let her know you are coming as she has to register you for the event.
Save the Dates! July 24 and August 27: Come to the Cabaret! Entertainment by some of our talented members and friends, 8 - 9 PM in the Education Building. Bring your favorite beverage and enjoy the music. Coffee and cake will be provided, and we will have a tip jar for those who wish to donate to the Music Ministry Fund.
Do you enjoy planting and growing vegetables? Well, an idea has been floated that we convert our unused playground into a Community Vegetable Garden, and it was received by the Consistory with an enthusiastic “Yes!” Granted, it’s too late in the season to plant now, but we would like to use this summer to get the soil and area ready for next year. Our vision is to grow vegetables that we can then give to the Calico Cat Food Pantry, the Keyport Food Pantry, and those in need in our congregation and community. If you are interested in being a part of the Garden Growing Team, please contact Jamie Zeller at email@example.com.
And of course, worship. Judy and I are committed to continue bringing you beautiful music and meaningful worship that honors Christ and celebrates his grace toward us. And, speaking of worship, let me add that Zoom was such a useful tool for us, especially in the early days of the pandemic, as it brought us together, allowing us to see, hear, and speak with one another. For this communication tool we are grateful. That said, as our state continues to re-open, as well as our sanctuary to in person worship, the Consistory and I believe the time has come to discontinue Zoom worship. The last Zoom for Sunday worship will be June 27. Please be aware that in addition to in person worship we will continue to livestream on Sunday via our YouTube channel — MRC: A Fabulous Church of Love.
We have all of these hopes and dreams for the summer, but first, I’m looking forward to welcoming you to church in person, via Zoom, or livestream this Pentecost Sunday as we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit. Please wear red, yellow, or orange to church in honor of such a wondrous gift. Our musical offerings this Sunday will certainly revive your spirit as our men’s trio — Dan Pannebaker, Izaak Thorpe, and Jamie Zeller — will be singing “Open My Eyes, That I May See” for our Anthem, and “Spirit of the Living God” for our Sermon Prayer Reflection. I will be preaching from Romans 8.22-27 and Acts 2.1-21 and my sermon title is Where the Spirit Goes Next. If you are attending in person, please wear your mask*, practice social distancing, and sit where you see a white gratitude card on the pews.
Beloved, let us go forth into the summer with joy and a breath of relief, continuing to believe and hope in powerful, Spirit-filled ways. I hope to see you tomorrow and/or on Sunday!
In gratitude for the privilege of being your pastor and the holy call of loving you,
*By now we are all aware that the CDC has issued new guidelines for mask wearing for those who are fully vaccinated. At this point, however, we are still under a mask mandate from Governor Murphy. Until we hear differently, we will continue to mask in worship for the safety of all. Hopefully, the mask mandate will be lifted soon. As we continue to see glimmers of hope on the horizon, let us continue to pray for a final end to the pandemic.